City guide

Foreign Affairs: regular expat events around Budapest

Photo : International Meeting Point
Foreign Affairs: regular expat events around Budapest

Foreigners continually come from all over the world to start a new life in Budapest. Whether it’s to study, work, or retire, it helps to navigate a new city when you know others in the same boat. People arrive here from far-flung locales like Australia, Brazil, India, and beyond, and there are plenty of expat events catering to those who’ve either just settled into Budapest and would like to meet new people, as well as those who’ve been here for years and like to stay in touch with the expat community. This roundup provides details on the huge variety of events catering to all types of foreigners, but there are also plenty of Facebook groups to join if you have other interests and questions.

Photo: International Meeting Point
International Meeting Point
Targeted more toward young people from all over the world, International Meeting Point events are hugely popular. Regular meet-ups are held at Anker’t and expats, Erasmus students, couch-surfers, and locals are all welcome to these free informal events that happen every second Wednesday. A free shot on arrival and a free raffle often entice hundreds of people to these events. Guests are given a wristband so that you know who your fellow “meeting pointers” are, and there are IMP ambassadors to help introduce you to new acquaintances. Everyone is there to meet new people and make friends, so there’s a welcoming and relaxed atmosphere.

Upcoming meet-ups are on September 3, September 17, October 1, and so on, every second Wednesday. They start at 7pm and continue through until about 1am. Sign up to the Facebook group to get updates.

Photo: Expats Hungary
Expats Hungary events
Expats Hungary has recently merged with Danube Events, and the new team is busy planning an events calendar packed with great events for expats. Existing events like the popular quiz nights, talent shows, speed dating, and open-mic and comedy nights are staples that are set to continue. There are now also plans for fortnightly networking events and business breakfasts. For updates join the Facebook events group. The free Expats Hungary card is also handy, offering discounts on loads of venues and services across the city.
InterNations events
InterNations is a global network for people living and working abroad. There’s a membership fee for InterNations Budapest, starting at about £4 per month. It’s worth signing up if you plan to take full advantage of the events, groups, and messaging services of the website – however, you don’t have to be a member to take part. Non-members can still attend events, but the cost will be higher (although still reasonable). The Budapest branch organizes about two events per month, but then there’s also special groups for things like ladies nights, a wine club, a motorbikers’ club, and so on.
Photo: The Club Budapest
Friday nights at The Club
The Club‘s founding members began meeting on Friday evenings at the British Embassy’s Britannia Club many years ago. When the embassy decided to end the meet-ups, club members decided to continue their friendship through weekly Friday-night catch-ups at Champs Sports Pub. These informal meet-ups are open to anyone – and everyone is welcome to come along to these free gatherings that last from 5:30pm to 8:30pm every Friday night. Champs offers great food and drink specials especially for these events. The Club also organizes monthly special events, like a darts competition, wine and chocolate tastings, sushi nights, and so on. You can take out an annual subscription to The Club, which means special events are free; otherwise there’s a reasonable price set for each event.
Photo: BPMP couch-surfer party
Crazy nights for couch surfers
When tourists like to experience living like a local, they often turn to couch surfing as great way to meet locals who have a spare sofa to crash on, and who can introduce them to the city. There’s now a monthly party organized for couch surfers here in Budapest – although absolutely everyone else is welcome, as long as you’re up for a crazy night!  The next event is on September 26, followed by a Halloween party on October 31. The location is Apacuka, and the focus is on making new friends.
Brody Studios
Brody House has an air of exclusivity about it, but this organization is a friendly group that focuses on promoting and supporting the arts. The club rooms at Brody House and Brody Studios are a hub for expats and local artists, writers, and journalists. Its venue spaces are used for a range of art, photography, film, literary events, fashion and design shows, writer’s workshops, and discussion nights. There is a restriction on non-members going to the clubhouses just to hang out, but members can take guests, and many of the events are completely open for anyone to attend.
Photo: Irish Hungarian Business Circle
Business and pleasure
There are plenty of business-networking opportunities in Budapest, but two stand out as extra fun – one where you can dress as a green leprechaun, and the other as a long-haired Viking, all while still feeling at home. The Irish-Hungarian Business Circle supports Irish-Hungarian networks and organizes events that are both business-oriented and purely social. The group’s upcoming events calendar includes volunteer visits to an orphanage in Göd, a big St. Patrick’s Day gala dinner, and a Day at the Races to coincide with the Hungarian Derby. Plus, on the first Friday of each month there’s a pub gathering, while hiking, biking, and running tours are also organized. Join up on Facebook to hear about the latest news and events. Similarly but with a Nordic flavor, the Viking Club is mainly for Scandinavians, but welcomes others to its monthly gathering that starts up again in September.  
Photo: Budapest Business Party
For a business-oriented expat group free of specific ethnic ties, it’s worth keeping an eye out for the 2015 Budapest Business Party. This is a special annual event for international entrepreneurs and managers in Budapest. More than 1,000 people were invited to attend this year’s event, and it’s a great opportunity to mingle in a stunning setting.
Photo: Budapest English Theatre
Budapest English Theatre
Those interested in the arts who would like to see English-language drama productions can go along to the shows of the Budapest English Theatre. The new season starts in September, and there’s a combination of performances that are created locally plus international companies whose acts are brought to the city. Keep updated here.
Photo: John Townsend
Sports fanatics
For some people, rugby and beer are a match made in heaven, and for those people there is the Budapest Rugby Watching & Beer Drinking Fans group. This association meets up at a sports pub for major rugby events to watch the game on a big screen. Rugby fans who also like to play can even join the expat rugby team, the Budapest Exiles, welcoming everyone to participate. The Budapest Hash House Harriers say they’re a drinking club with a running problem, and if you’d like to combine these two pastimes in a fun way, then this could be a great way to combine exercising with socializing.
Photo: Little Britain Services
Comedy workshops
Little Britain Services provides English-language lessons to locals and expats for whom English isn’t their first language. To support its educational efforts, the group organizes a handful of events each year where expats can get together and improve their English. Little Britain Services has also organized English-language comedy workshops in October. The two half-day sessions on October 18 and 19 or 21 and 22 are led by British comedian Dave Thompson (who played the purple Teletubby). Join the LBS Facebook group to stay connected.
Photo: Steve Collison
Gift of the Gab
If you fancy yourself as a public speaker or a stand-up comedian, then you might say you have the “gift of the gab”. These events see expats from all over the world vying for the top title over a series of rounds where speakers make one prepared speech and one entirely impromptu speech! The audience has a huge role in who wins, with five judges plucked randomly from the crowd. The popular Gift of the Gab events takes place at the Cotton Club on these nights:

Round 1: September 17
Round 2: October 29
Round 3: November 26
Round 4: January 14
Round 5: February 11
Final: March 12  

You can now apply to be a competitor or reserve a spot in the audience. Follow Gift of the Gab on Facebook for regular updates.

Friday night crowd
And just when you thought there were too many social opportunities to manage, there’s a second Friday-night expat meet-up that’s strictly for expats only. Friday Night Crowd meets in a relaxed setting for a drinks and chats. It’s free to attend, and people join the fun from all over the world. Join the Facebook group for details on exactly when and where you can find this friendly group.
More ways to stay connected
You can find like-minded people in Budapest for just about any activity you enjoy on various Facebook expat groups. These are a great way to connect with people, get help with any specific questions, and find out what’s going on in the city. Plus if you have another idea… maybe you want a tennis partner… you’re likely to find someone to join you.